Understanding Continual Learning Settings with Data Distribution Drift Analysis

04/04/2021 ∙ by Timothée Lesort, et al. ∙ 18

Classical machine learning algorithms often assume that the data are drawn i.i.d. from a stationary probability distribution. Recently, continual learning emerged as a rapidly growing area of machine learning where this assumption is relaxed, namely, where the data distribution is non-stationary, i.e., changes over time. However, data distribution drifts may interfere with the learning process and erase previously learned knowledge; thus, continual learning algorithms must include specialized mechanisms to deal with such distribution drifts. A distribution drift may change the class labels distribution, the input distribution, or both. Moreover, distribution drifts might be abrupt or gradual. In this paper, we aim to identify and categorize different types of data distribution drifts and potential assumptions about them, to better characterize various continual-learning scenarios. Moreover, we propose to use the distribution drift framework to provide more precise definitions of several terms commonly used in the continual learning field.

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